Who Owns History? A Clash of Perspectives

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On Saturday the 23rd November, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of History, Politics and Philosophy are hosting a one-day conference examining multicultural issues in the study and teaching of history.

This conference is aimed at scholars and members of the public who are interested in two of the contentious issues in our study and understanding of history: 1) to what extent does Eurocentrism define history, and are there alternative ways of explaining history? 2) what aims and objectives should govern a history curriculum in schools in multicultural Britain?

While the political and economic power of the West has been manifest throughout the world over the last three centuries, equally remarkable has been the cultural dominance of the West too.

The morning of the conference will seek to address this idea with lectures and seminars from Professor Tim Whitmarsh, Dr George Joseph, and Dr Keekok Lee. The morning sessions will address a range of issues from the European Identity and its conception in the framework of ancient Greek civilisation, to the multicultural aspects of the transmission of mathematics, and finally how certain notions in ancient Chinese philosophy helped shape and influence the Enlightenment.
The afternoon sessions will examine the study of history in British schools since the Second World War. Often a source for valuable and contentious ideas, the battlegrounds of the curriculum frameworks surrounding the study of history have been reignited following the curriculum review instigated by Education Secretary Michael Gove.These battles are waged at the school and classroom level more than at the level of national policy, which often operates at ‘arm’s length’ through bodies such as OFSTED rather than through democratically debated legislation.

In the afternoon’s schedule Dr Robin Whitburn, Mr. Abdullahi Mohamud and Mr. Robin Grinter will take a perspective on the history curriculum frameworks. Firstly outlining the battles currently being fought in schools, then a look at some possibilities, and inherent challenges, that are present at the level of the classroom through which teachers can frame new histories for a diverse multicultural Britain. The closing session will outline a thematic model for a British history curriculum that draws upon many humane and secular traditions that have been embedded in British life for centuries‘Who owns History?’ is set to be a conference that challenges some fundamentally assumed Eurocentric positions of the study of history and the implications for recent curriculum reforms, and a close look at what the aims and objectives of a history curriculum should look like.

For any academic, teacher or member of the public with a vested interest in the way in which we define our approach to the study of history, this is a conference not to be missed.

Fee: £ 18 for people in employment; £ 10 for students, retired senior citizens and people not in employment. The fee includes lunch and a booklet containing papers submitted at last year’s multicultural conference on Islamic Civilization

(This year’s conference is partly funded by a generous contribution from Mr. Eruch Cavasji, a resident of Denton, Greater Manchester).

Further information and application form please contact Burjor Avari, at MMU —

Closing date for application: Friday, November 15, 2013.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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